Many of the people who demand we keep monuments of Confederate soldiers in place, rather than take them down because they don’t deserve to be honored, are also devout Christians. It might seem hypocritical. After all, Jesus wanted people to turn the other cheek and fought for justice while those soldiers were often slaveowners fighting to keep that horrific practice in place.
But a weekly Bible study in Charlottesville, Virginia is suggesting a different hypocrisy angle: Does the admiration of these monuments cross over into idol worship?
According to the Washington Post, Rev. Isaac Collins (Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church) and the Rev. Phil Woodson (First United Methodist Church) are exploring whether white supremacy has become a new kind of religion for those right-wing Christians so inclined to merge politics with faith.
“If you read the installation ceremonies, when they were put up, God is regularly invoked, there’s religious vocabulary used about them, they’re supposed to instill awe or reverence,” Collins said in an interview. “So we’re specifically trying to take the Bible’s language around idolatry and make the case that these statues are idols to white supremacy.”
If it helps some people understand why the monuments are problematic, then it’s hard to argue against it. The Bible study has invoked some anger and controversy in the community, but not as much as people might think. There haven’t been protests and the trolls on social media are easier to ignore. It’s a bit of a surprise given that the mere suggestion that these statues represent racism often draws outrage that’s tantamount to suggesting that Christianity should be outlawed or that all Bibles should be burned.
But these pastors have a good point. The Confederate monuments, they say, are the new golden calf. If believers understand that reference, they may be less prone to fall for the false idols.
(Image via Shutterstock)